Is it time for StopOps?
You’ve seen the headlines. The marketing buzzwords. Ops isn’t even a new term. But it seems a little over 10 years ago, concatenating things on the front of the word Ops has becoming increasingly popular. And, to a point, increasingly meaningless.
What is Ops?
In tech companies, Ops has always been the nerve center. Whether working in the cloud or on bare metal, Ops is the team making sure all the wires are connected where they should be. Whether that means you aer called an SRE and focus on monitoring systems health, or you are a Systems Administrator ensuring servers are speaking to the public the way they should, the job is to ensure the application or system or whatever remains upright and functional for those who use it, both internally and externally.
Before going further, it’s important to note that more companies are tech companies than those with a Silicon Valley pedigree. Arguably, any company doing anything with technology they directly interact with is a tech company. Banks are tech companies. Grocery stores are massive tech conglomerates. Everyone is in tech these days.
All of these companies, arguably a vast majority in the modern world, require people to ensure they remain up and running. This important job is perhaps why they started taking the Ops and attaching it to everything in sight.
I once worked with a person who asked why Ops folks needed developers.I think back on that a lot and always remember my response: If there is no code or application, what is the Ops for?
This interaction took place just before Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay Schaffer started a movement called DevOps. The idea is to bring Developers and Ops folks (and QA folks, but that really messes up the portmanteau) together under one umbrella. An amazing idea, when implemented in a way that helps an organization.
DevOps is an extension of the Agile philosophy. Arguably, it perfects Agile and makes it useful where other accoutrements actually stifled it. DevOps brought down the invisible barrier, and many of the preconceived notions around being a developer, being a QA specialist, and being an Ops engineer. There is no problem with adding Ops to Dev - you get a better world and better applications and systems from it.
That said…this may be where the problem started.
Security is always an issue in the world of technology. It makes sense we want our systems, both internal and external, to operate under secure conditions - or as secure as we can make them. Nothing is invulnerable.
Naturally, we then get SecOps. Is it a sub-group of DevOps? Is it the security concious folks in the Ops community? Where is the intersection? This blogpost kind of answers some of those questions. A good CISO friend of mine shared his opinion on a podcast with me about it.
There is no clear answer. SecOps isn’t as clear cut as DevOps and still has some PR work to do. But, it still shows a clear benefit to the technology we are building, so let’s allow it.
We are getting a bit more specific here, but essentially this is SecOps with some developers thrown at it. More of a subset of DevOps.
While it’s clearly explained in this article, we are definitely starting to drift from meaningful concatenation here. I mean, Ops isn’t involved other than the fact we are performing Business Operations. Two years ago this would be called BA (Business Analytics) or BI (Business Intelligence). Why did it get Ops-ifyed
Okay - I get this. It’s a hot take on automate everything idea of DevOps. If we can automate and safely, securely move jobs away from needing constant hands-on, we have a more stable environment (theoreticallty). Marketing is starting to come into play here. Simple marketing though - nothing with a focus group or people sitting around a table thinking up…
OH, C’MON!! What did I just say about focus groups? Putting more concatenated words together is neither disruptive, innovative, or even clever.
Let’s put Ops back where it belongs: in the capable hands of the amazing people who ensure system stability and better user interaction. This goes beyond the concept of marketing overruling how things should work in conversations between professionals. this is goes beyond influencer culture and the goal of every community to demand a taste maker.
Hell, this goes beyond the issue of semantic satiation.
The issue here is about the jobs we do and valuing the people who do them. Let’s try to use more diverse and specific terms when deciding what a new business division and team looks like. If we strive for clarity, we can improve our chances of success.
This is the StopOps movement: success via verbal clarity.